#865: Tweak This
Support for this NPR podcast and the following message come from Alfa Romeo, the twenty eighteen Alfa Romeo Juliet, awakens your senses and provides a unique driving experience, learn more about motor trends, twenty eighteen car of the year at Alfa Romeo USA dot com. The other day I had an early morning interview and I ran downstairs to get a Cup of coffee and ran into the guest. So I turned on my recorder and I kind of bartered her with my maybe we should say, were you? This is Kathy. I'm sorry. I don't know my you might need to get my name. That's probably the easy question. I'm Katherine ram, Pell columnist for the Washington Post. Specifically, Catherine writes about the economy for the Washington Post, and it occurred to us that actually a coffee shop is the perfect place to show this thing that infuriates, Catherine. All right. So you're looking at an ice tea, what size you looking for. And I get the sixteen ounce ice tea. How much three fifteen with tax. But it says on the board SU eighty nine is twenty sticky. It's a little misleading. Okay. Okay. So maybe that sounds like somebody buying ice tea and then having to pay tax. But it only sounds normal because we've gotten used to it. What Catherine sees here is one price on the board, and then this extra hidden thing that she has to pay for and it's not just taxes. Sometimes it's fees and service charges that seem to appear out of thin air at checkout and drive us all crazy, booking rental cars, buying concert tickets or like, have you booked a hotel room recently? Sometimes there's an internet fees. Sometimes there's a parking fee. Sometimes there is something called a resort fee, even though you're staying in a place that does not a resort, it's by the highway. Anyways, Catherine brought her ice tea into the studio to explain why these fees and service charges are not just annoying. They are bad for the economy. Companies should be competing based on price and quality and not obligation. And the fact that companies do compete on office Gatien does not create a better economy. Does not create a better experience for consumers and Ken, in fact, raise prices for consumers that they're buying self that they don't want. Everyone is a used car salesman. I have very good friend who's a used car salesman, so I, I don't want to denigrate that profession specifically. So what is your one tiny tweak that would change the world? My my one tiny tweak is that we should require more all inclusive upfront pricing, including taxes fees, particularly in common types of consumer purchases where people like to comparison shop, the price should be the price. That is how Catherine ram Pell would make the world better with one simple tweak. Hello and welcome to planet money. I'm Nick fountain and I'm Kenny Malone and sometimes on planet money, we tackle the world's big questions, but today on the show we look for small answers. Yeah, this is something we've done here before we call it the smartest people, we know and we asked them what teeny thing would you change about the world to make our lives better? We have a suggestion for how you can get more money from your boss, how to make the most boring sport little less boring and how to take down the wedding, industrial complex. Support for this podcast and the following message come from swell investing an impact investing platform. You vote with your dollars when you shop. What if you could do the same when you invest with swell invest in high growth companies without checking your values at the door, it's a market opportunity linked to global progress in clean water, renewable energy, and medical breakthroughs. Get a fifty dollar bonus. When you open your accounts at swell investing dot com slash money. There is a pump branch of the musical family tweet that his Latin music and other hundreds Cabello is one of its pioneers is new album picks on immigration and American identity in a loud rockets and always insightful collection of new salts. Hear him. Talk about that at some of the history of Latin punk on all that Dino. Okay, little tweaks that could make big changes to our lives. Go first idea comes from a labor economist at the university of Notre Dame Abigail, Wozniak. So I have actually a little wind up if you are interested. Yeah, wind it up the moment at which this occurred to me was a couple of weeks ago, so I am naturally a football fan since I come from Green Bay Wisconsin and I was reading about Aaron Rodgers contract negotiations. Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers over the summer. He was asking for more money from the Packers and what caught abbey's. I was this quote from Rogers where he said something like, sure, I'm in a multi million dollar salary renegotiation with my bosses, but whatever I've got an agent, he's dealing with it. I'm just gonna keep practicing football. I feel amazing. And I thought that just doesn't sound like any kind of job negotiation that I have ever heard. Anyone goes through personally. Right? Like a normal person, a non. Celebrity quarterback, they're like, I know this is a good problem to have. I know I'm getting a good job at this is the most stressful thing I've ever gone through, not whatever someone will fix it for me. Yeah. And I think the thing that popped into my head was more people should have someone like this abbey Wozniak's tweak is all of us not just famous people should have agents. Now, she's not saying this has to be your own personal Hollywood agent or even an expensive lawyer. We know about those kinds of jobs. She's saying, maybe there's a different job that doesn't exist yet. It'd be some intermediary. You pay a flat fee to and then they'll have a couple of conversations on your behalf when you need it. So imagine Abby gets a call, hey, if the university of Michigan, we'd like to offer you a new job. I would say thanks, that's exciting. I'm using this new service. This third person is going to contact you with my questions. Is it? Is it weird to think about actually saying that to someone offering you a job? It is weird. But it's all weird, right? Abby thinks that having this intermediary negotiate for you could be a huge benefit over the course of your career. First of all, it would be this person's job to study your field and to know what your worth and this takes a little advantage away from your employer. Secondly, she says, there's research showing that if you make less at the beginning of your career, you're gonna make less down the road. And so the sooner you bring someone in to negotiate a great salary, the better that is going to be for you. Also, Abby says this intermediary could help deal with some of the things that add to the gender pay gap. Well, it's clear that two things happen. One is that women don't quite ask for the same things that men will ask for in a negotiation, but there's also evidence that when women ask, it's not received the same way as when men ask. So again, in intermediary helps to fix that a little bit. I think socially, it just kind of jams the signal a little bit. If we're going to name. This new profession do? Do you have an idea like what would we call this thing you know negotiator, I think is maybe better than agent in terms of just capturing more what's going on. It's good. Talk to my negotiator. Knock do that. You could say neutral party, but I'm not sure these people are really going to be neutral. Intermediary is accurate, but also kind of bland. Yeah. So, yeah, like negotiators good. I like negotiator. I'm not in marketing. Yeah, everyone needs a negotiator. Love it. The negotiator also a nineteen ninety eight movie starring Samuel Jackson. What happens. Go sheets by. Kenny has left the studio. We assume to go watch the negotiator, the nineteen ninety eight movie by Samuel Jackson, and in the studio now is Sarah Gonzales. Hey, Sarah, hi, Nick, your tweak is about the wedding industrial complex, and we gave you this assignment because you're about to get married. Congratulations. Thanks and might tweak comes from Dame on Jones. He's in a communist at the university of Chicago and Damon year planning wedding right now, right. I just recently was married in June, you just, oh, so you're out. You're in the clear AM and clear, but I do have to write thank you notes. Are you behind schedule? Apparently you have up to a year to send out. Thank you notes. Yeah, who makes these rules and the the timeframe down from the wedding, God's. I don't know that I would call them the gods. It would be like the wedding gremlin day Mons tweet has to do with the way we think about wedding registries. I hate wedding registries everyone. Hates them? Yes. It feels like this sideways way of asking people to reimburse you for like their dinner in their booze. And Damon also says that you can't even ask for what you really want on a wedding registry because it's just a little tacky. There's some gifts that are not acceptable to ask for, you know, can you give me season tickets to the Knicks, but for some reason, plates and forks acceptable. We have enough place. We have enough folks. We don't need any more of those. I feel I'm here on the force in plates like maybe that made sense when those things were handmade in Pennsylvania. But like this stuff is getting cheaper and cheaper, and throwing a wedding is getting more and more expensive. So here is Damon's tweak, I say, let's discard registry and maybe just have some tickets. Good old-fashioned tickets for the wedding weights, sell people tickets to tend your wedding. Okay. We wouldn't use the word so I might be an that popular in. Instead of a wedding registry. So like don't buy me a gift just pay for your plate of food at the wedding. Don't buy gift just help us to to have the best winning ever. You want to use the right gift. You may want to charge different prices. Okay. So no. Different prices for different people. Okay. So a flat prices easiest, but it's not fair like maybe you wanna cut your undergrad, college cousin a break, but your investment banker friend, she's painful price. This guy is cold and calculating, and I kinda liked it. He's an economist, but hear them out. You have plus ones. Okay. Oh, so this ones are working? Yes, yes. The plus one issue is you have a really good friend that you want to invite your wedding, but they have a new boyfriend or girlfriend and that she don't know they, you know, and now you have to spend like three hundred or person for their food, their booze, their chair, their table, their fork yet. And if you have to pay for your new girlfriend's ticket, maybe she doesn't have to come after. Maybe she's not so important to you anymore, and there's another big benefit no-shows. Can you believe. That you're going to go through this entire process in only to have someone maybe not show up now done Tommy reading. Okay, so I understand that it's a risk I'm taking. Yeah. So why not share the risk? You have a deposit that's non refundable on your, take it, and if you decide not to show we understand and we also appreciate that your deposit is going toward the food that's going to be sitting there cold and uneaten at the wedding. Okay. So Sarah, you're getting married in about a month. Are you gonna take Damon suggestion and charge for entry to your wedding? No, no, I can't. I'm not even asking people to give me gifts, but I am going to go on the record right now and just say this publicly, if anyone are as BP to my wedding and fails at the last moment like that is not cool. We're not going to be okay. At least tell me two or three days before, so I can let all the vendors know, Sarah, thank you so much muscle. Tough. Thanks. When you're out there, can you get Kenny to come back in. After the break. A modest proposal to make baseball more interesting. Support for this podcast and the following message come from Capital One with instant purchase notifications. So customers don't miss a purchase small or large, what's in your wallet, not available for some partner cards offered by Capital One Bank USA in a copyright twenty eighteen. How much would you pay to avoid morning traffic? Why our plane tickets to Boise so expensive. I'm Cardiff Garcia, co host of the indicator and every episode we take on a new unexpected idea to help you make sense of the day's news. Listen every afternoon on NPR one or wherever you get your podcasts. All right. For this next tweak, Nick, I want to introduce you to Lieutenant Danny Roman. He is a top hostage negotiator for the Chicago police department. I'm just kidding. I just telling you the plot of the negoti. How was it? I still have a lot to watch anyway. Are actual final tweak is about baseball. It is also probably our most controversial tweak, yes, major league baseball knows that it's games are a little too long, and so they've been trying their own tweaks to speed up the game. Little things like limiting the number of warmup pitches making the commercial breaks between innings shorter, and that's all fine. But if they really wanted to speed the game up, they would be a little more serious about listening to tweak proposed by this man. My name is Steven Bram. I'm professor politics at New York University. You like baseball. I'm a fan, but not a rabid fan now, not one who's willing to blindly. Follow all rules of baseball. I suppose. No, I propose some reforms, Steve and some colleagues have proposed what is now known as the catch up rule like guy. You want catch up a mustard on that guy. Just not that kind of catch up. This is the kind where if you are losing you would like to catch up Steve. Can you give us the simplest explanation of the ketchup rule in baseball? It works as follows that if yo- the team ahead in an inning and your at bat, then you get only two months rather than three outs in that inning. In other words, when you are ahead, you get fewer chances to score your opponent, who is losing gets more chances, Steve and a colleague tested this out using historic baseball data. We looked at the one hundred thousand games now many one hundred thousand. We went back to nineteen sixty seven fifty years. Okay. And we analyze each pitch. For over one hundred thousand games and asked if the catch up role had been in place, how would things have changed as an impatient baseball fan? How much shorter would these games of bed? The average game which now vast three hours and five minutes would be cut by twenty four minutes. So you cutting almost a half an hour from a game has one of the biggest game? Yes, and not only were the games shorter. They were way more competitive, which Steve thinks would probably help baseball with its declining attendance. So how have fans reacted to this? Teeny tiny, tweak to America's pastime. Well, critically, I would say, let's just say there have been a lot of angry baseball fans, but Steve is not here to win a popularity contest. In fact, he tells us he's also got a version of the up rule for America's actual favorite sport football in the NFL. We would give the winning team only three downs rather than four downs to make a first down Steve. You're like, you're blowing up every single sport. Oh yeah. We have an idea for basketball that we would instead of giving the team ahead twenty four seconds to shoot. We've only eighteen seconds at the end of a game. Mike, how you are true, I Kana class. Well. We'll see what happens. We don't want to hold you any longer. Thank you so much for coming in. Yeah, thank you professor. Thanks very much and don't go to any baseball games anytime soon. You might get. Yeah. It's thrown at you. Is there a tweak that you would like to see in the world? You can Email it to us. We are planet money at NPR dot ORG. We're also at planet money on the Twitter's. And instead you're so hip, Alex cold, Mark is our supervising producer Ryan earth's. That is our chief episode tweaker. I'm Kenny Malone and I'm Nick fountain. Thanks for listening. And we have one more extra special guest joining us in the studio today. Do you want to introduce yourself? It's me Danny Roman Lieutenant, Danny Roman from the negotiator in the flesh and you, you apparently have a tweet for us today. Do great what he got. Never say no to a hostage taker. It's in the manual. It eliminates options. The only option that leaves is to shoot someone understand it sort of makes sense. I mean, I don't. I don't know if that technically qualifies us like a tweak. It's more like a vice patronize me who tenant. No, no offense then no. Again, I'll kill somebody. I think they, we're gonna end this interview. That's really too bad because Danny Roman was just starting to.